Changes to VIVA Wiley agreement

Mason researchers have access to a large number of journals published by Wiley, thanks to an on-going contract between Wiley and the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA).  However, given current budget cuts across the state, recently VIVA has had to renegotiate this contract. To maintain this important journal access and yet still reach a viable price point, one component of the earlier contract has been dropped: financial support for authors publishing in fully-open journals. 

Fortunately, at Mason we are still able to offer our Open Access Publishing Fund as a way to support Open Access (OA) publishing by university researchers and offset potential publishing costs. To review the eligibility criteria and to apply for funding, please visit our OA Publishing Fund site.

To learn more about the cost of academic journal subscriptions, please visit our Sustainable Collections site.

Invitation to Mason faculty to join the conversation on Sustainable Scholarship

Virginia’s seven public academic research libraries (George Mason University, along with University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, College of William and Mary, James Madison University, and Old Dominion University) will soon be at the contract negotiating table with Elsevier, the largest STEM scholarly publisher, in an effort to reduce our shared access costs to the Freedom Collection, Elsevier’s flagship academic journal bundle.

Our shared Elsevier contract represents a collective yearly expenditure of $10 million and is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2022, with five percent inflation in the final year of the contract. In light of substantial budget cuts and ongoing fiscal uncertainty – as well as the unsustainable models favored by large publishing conglomerates who control access to academic journals – Virginia universities are considering our next steps for both cost reductions and future sustainability.

In preparation for these negotiations, we are implementing UnSub, an analysis tool that will help us make sound, data- informed decisions about the value of the Elsevier Freedom Collection and our other journal packages. The data we collect, along with additional information about sustainable journal collections, will be made available to the university community on our website throughout the fall. For an example of one large university system’s effective use of UnSub, see this recent Science magazine article.

We know that any changes to the way we share and access information affects our entire academic community. Our faculty are key partners in making any necessary changes, and we welcome your input. If a successful outcome is not reached through negotiations, we – and our partner universities – will continue our common commitment to delivering the resources students and faculty need to do their research and academic work.

We invite you to attend the upcoming Sustainable Scholarship Virtual Forum on Friday, October 2 at 9:30 a.m., where VRL members will share information about the group’s collective priorities concerning equity, accessibility, and the costs of bundled scholarly journal packages.

We have collated some resources about sustainable collections and journal pricing on our Sustainable Collections site. We hope you will find this information, particularly the “Six Things Faculty Need to Know”, helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions.

VA research libraries host virtual forum in advance of Elsevier negotiations

Representatives from the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, William and Mary, and James Madison University will soon be in contract negotiations with Elsevier, the largest science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholarly publisher. Working as a group, they will be discussing the unsustainable cost of accessing Elsevier’s academic journals and options to make their public universities’ research more accessible to the public that paid for it.

On Friday, October 2 at 9:30 a.m., the group will host a Sustainable Scholarship Virtual Forum to share information about the group’s collective priorities concerning equity, accessibility, and costs of bundled scholarly journal packages. Forum moderator Brandon Butler, the University of Virginia Library’s Director of Information Policy, will also pose questions to the panel for discussion. Registration is open to all interested faculty, staff, students, and community members. Attendees can submit questions or discussion topics surrounding negotiation priorities and sustainable scholarship in advance through the forum’s registration site.

“This is an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming negotiations, the libraries’ priorities surrounding equitable access to scholarship, the impact of changing models on access to research, and why the costs of large bundled journal packages are unsustainable. We will also discuss the possible futures of scholarly publishing,” said Butler. “As a group, we are working together to find the best solutions to continue to be responsible stewards of state funds while providing our faculty and students with the informational resources they need to research, teach, and learn.”

Mason’s Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, John Zenelis, remarks, “Unsustainable access costs affect all of us in the Mason academic community. I invite faculty, staff, and students to join the conversation by submitting questions in advance via the registration site and attending the upcoming discussion. The forum will provide an opportunity to hear more about how we, along with our partner universities in Virginia, are moving together through this process towards a more sustainable library collections and scholarly resources model.”

Panelists include:
Carrie Cooper, Dean of University Libraries, College of William and Mary
Stuart Frazer, Interim University Librarian, Old Dominion University
Teresa L. Knott, Interim Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University
Bethany Nowviskie, Dean of Libraries, James Madison University
John Unsworth, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, University of Virginia
Tyler Walters, Dean of University Libraries, Virginia Tech
John Zenelis, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, George Mason University

All interested faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to register and attend the forum.